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Suicide Truck Bombing in Baghdad Kills 15

13 February 2007

Iraqi police say a suicide bomber drove near a college in a Shi'ite area of Baghdad Tuesday and set off a blast that killed 15 people and wounded 30 others. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from northern Iraq that the attack came as students returned to school this week after a two week break.

The blast in western Baghdad's Iskan neighborhood occurred near a private college and a trade ministry food warehouse. A witness described the attack.

He says he was walking with three young boys when the car exploded. He says the blast killed people in a nearby house and beheaded one of the boys he was walking with.

The attack occurred in a mainly Shi'ite neighborhood, but locals said the school had a religiously mixed student body.

Baghdad residents are anxiously waiting for the new security operation that officials have vowed will reduce such random attacks on civilians. But there is skepticism among both Iraqis and lawmakers in Washington that the plan will be able to succeed.

Members of the U.S. Congress are debating a non-binding resolution this week that opposes sending more than 20,000 additional American forces to Iraq as part of the new security plan. And Iraqis fear the security crackdown will focus on some sectarian militant groups - but not others.

Tuesday in Baghdad, Iraq's deputy prime minister addressed worries that the crackdown will be politically motivated. He said the government has learned from previous politician-led plans that failed to curb violence.

Salam Zoba Ai says that this time Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki will choose technocrats to help oversee the operation.

He did not say when the prime minister would appoint officials for the job.

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